Today’s news and media environment has created entirely new expectations for companies to decide how they fit into the broader world—not just their economic effect, but their social impact as well. Businesses are increasingly called upon to take public stances on complicated issues, including those seemingly unrelated to the business itself.
At Acceleration Partners, we have always been committed to creating an impact beyond our industry. In addition to working with several organizations that we are passionate about supporting, we give our employees time and resources to do work in their communities and advocate for causes that matter to them. However, that still leaves questions of what our company stands for collectively.
In determining Acceleration Partners’ priorities, including how we influence our communities, we always start with our why.
Acceleration Partners’ all-encompassing WHY is to create better outcomes for our employees, our clients and our communities.
Better Outcomes for Our Employees: We empower our team members to learn, develop and lead, offering opportunities beyond what they have experienced elsewhere. Employees enhance their development by working alongside amazing colleagues who challenge and motivate them, creating better professional and personal outcomes. Employees do the best work of their careers and reach new heights at AP. Should they move on, they continue this peak performance as valued members of our alumni community, expanding the impact of our values to other organizations.
Better Outcomes for Our Clients: We help our clients grow their businesses in alignment with their brand, leveraging Performance Partnerships to drive better outcomes than anyone else in our industry. Our strategic approach also helps our client contacts excel in their roles, raise their visibility in their organizations and get promoted, creating valuable relationships for AP with increasingly senior-level contacts.
Better Outcomes For Our Communities: We use our resources, time, and relationships to create better outcomes and opportunities for individuals and communities who are in need.
We accomplish this by grounding our strategy, decision-making and execution in our core values and purpose, and creating lasting growth and excellence both within our business and beyond it.
We are committed to living our core values and believe that these values can empower our employees to create a better future for themselves, their clients and their local communities.
Embrace Relationships … when we create a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment where everyone can feel heard, seen, and understood; when we seek out voices, faces, backgrounds, and perspectives that differ from our own.
Own It … when we consider personally how we can contribute to the greater good – within both our professional lives and society, then passionately work to drive meaningful change.
Excel and Improve … when we don’t settle for good enough or comfortable, and when we require ourselves and encourage those around us to strive to do better – and to be better – each day and in every situation.
We believe there is no more dangerous phrase than: “someone should do something.”
We believe “owning it” means stepping up to solve problems. Our core values encourage our employees to be changemakers, both in and outside of work, including in their local communities.
We believe in “doing the work” and taking tangible action to support our communities. As a company, we donate a percentage of our profits each year and give our time and energy to causes that align closely with our values. As we excel and improve as a company, our contribution will continue to grow, and we have made this a key tenant of our Vivid Vision growth plan.
We feel strongly that educational access is key to achieving social and racial equity, and that leveling the playing field starts with setting the next generation up for success. We consistently embrace relationships with leaders in the educational equity space, partnering closely with organizations such as BUILD and Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide, which create educational opportunities for underserved populations. We have supported Rustic Pathways to offer travel scholarships that give promising students the opportunity to travel globally, participate in service and learning work in different cultures, and broaden their perspectives in the process. And in the wake of the devastation caused by 2018’s Hurricane Maria, we partnered with several of our mattress clients to launch Operation #GoodNightSleep, an initiative to ship new mattresses to Puerto Rican families that had lost everything and were sleeping on their floors.
In the future, our focus will continue to be supporting the causes that are important to our employees, empowering them to take action on those issues, and taking on a few larger initiatives as a company that support our values and drive positive systemic change within our communities. We want to focus our resources and energy to make an outsized contribution in a few areas that can impact demonstrable change.
We have always believed that what we don’t do is just as important as what we do. While there is a sense of obligation to respond to all new developments happening today in real-time, doing so tends to overlook nuance in complicated issues and favors expediency over thoughtful reflection, commitment and most importantly, action. News and social media cycles should not be the barometer of morality, gravity, or prioritization. While outrage is a powerful emotion and can be the spark that lights the fire, it is not the same as action. Ultimately, we believe social change requires sustained, focused action and prioritization. This means not putting the urgent ahead of the important or prioritizing the latest news headline ahead of the existing work that is already being done.
We need to acknowledge that it is very difficult for a company to represent the full range of viewpoints that employees hold. Even in cases where people agree there is a problem, they may not agree on the solution. Additionally, choosing to speak out on some issues, but not others, has the unintended consequences of alienating employees who may be upset that an issue or cause did not receive an “official” company response. Because the sad reality is, there are just too many important issues happening around the world for us to take a company position on all of the ones that our employees, clients and partners care about.
While as an organization we may not, and cannot, respond to every headline, we will advocate for our employees and give them a platform and voice. To facilitate this, we give our employees the time, support and resources they need to advocate for the causes they are passionate about, guided by our company purpose, values and platform. We offer paid-time-off for employees to do volunteer work; we match personal charitable donations to non-profit organizations that matter to our employees; and we provide internal support for affinity groups, learning sessions, and employee-organized activities around specific issues. This results in a balanced, employee-driven approach to social action that is not about AP the company, but AP’s people.
Companies today have an important role to play in social change, and cannot turn away from that responsibility. Our choice is to focus our time, energy and effort in ways that reflect and align to our passions and values, and we encourage others to do the same. As a business, we remain most focused on what we can control, on increasing diversity, and on working to be a truly equitable and inclusive company. Crucially, we do this while encouraging action and “doing the work” to support our communities and create the outcomes that drive positive systemic change.
Matt Wool, President, Acceleration Partners
Robert Glazer, Founder, Acceleration Partners